Just in Time for Winter,
Cruise Lines Identify 'Hot' Destinations
Anyone ready to trade frosted windshields for frosted drinks and blustery winds for balmy breezes, take heart. Cruise Lines International Association's (CLIA) member cruise lines are announcing a wide array of tropical getaways for the winter of 2000-2001 in the Caribbean, the Bahamas, Mexico, South and Central America, the Pacific, South Africa, Australia/New Zealand, and the southern U.S. "When temperatures dip, travelers start thinking about warmer climates, and traditionally the cruise booking scene gets hot," said James G. Godsman, president of CLIA, the non-profit marketing organization for the North American cruise industry. "A cruise getaway is the perfect cure for the winter blahs."
Some cruises are weekend sojourns, others lengthy voyages. Either way, says Godsman, the relaxation quotient is unequivocal. "Step onboard and let the pampering begin. While tropical temperatures restore the body, an ever-attentive staff will restore the soul. You'll return home rested and ready to brave whatever else Mother Nature sends your way," says Godsman.
This winter, cruise passengers will have such memorable experiences as private beach parties on secluded islands; sipping champagne in the shadow of Ayers Rock; and exploring art nouveaux towns in Norway or the ancient wonders of Thailand.
Nature lovers might opt to whale watch in Hawaii; observe penguins, sea lions and albatrosses while exploring the White Continent; encounter wildlife along the intracoastal waterways of the southern U.S.; or sail through the Chilean Fjords.
Adventurers might swing through Costa Rica's forest canopy on an aerial tram; sail along the Amazon River; or "flight-see" over Mt. Everest.
Attracting about 50 percent of cruise passengers are the Caribbean and the Bahamas, for good reason. The areas, known for balmy temperatures year-round, offer the added plus of convenience. In addition, CLIA-member lines are offering itineraries in the Southern U.S., Central America and Mexico, all destinations that are growing in popularity as more first-timers test the waters.
Cruise Industry Poised for a
11 New Ships on Tap
Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) member lines will introduce 11 new ships in 2001 -- a glittering fleet of vessels that places a high premium on personal choice and comfort, with more dining and relaxation options than before, and more cabins featuring ocean views and private balconies and state-of-the-art operational equipment.
"In 2000, the industry added 11 percent more berths to its fleet," says James G. Godsman, president of CLIA, the marketing organization for the North American cruise industry. "Naturally, the question asked was 'Will the industry be able to generate enough passengers to fill these new ships?' The answer has been a resounding 'yes'. Through the Third Quarter 2000, the passenger growth was nearly 16 percent."
Godsman predicts that when the final 2000 figures are in, U.S. cruise lines will have hosted some 6.9 million guests. The news ships of 2001 will produce another 11 percent increase in berths for the industry.
New Ships Offer Personalized Cruising
The new ships making their debut seem designed to prove the point that no dream is left unfulfilled on a cruise vacation. A romantic dinner for two, a high-spirited volleyball game, a chance to learn how to surf the Internet, a new restaurant to visit each day of a cruise ... even the opportunity to begin married life with a wedding on board. All these dreams and more can be satisfied in the 2001 array of new ships.
Record Number of Prospects
Poised to Take First Cruise
A record number of Americans say they intend to take a cruise within the next five years, according to new research conducted for Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA).
In its biennial Market Profile Study, CLIA reports that the number of people who intend "definitely" or "probably" to take a cruise within the next five years has risen to more than 43.5 million, a new record. Nearly 69 million stated interest -- from mild to strong -- in taking a cruise within that same time frame.
The cruise industry expects to host some 6.5 million to 6.8 million cruisers this year, almost one million more than in 1999. CLIA estimates that approximately 45 percent will be first-time cruisers.
"The cruise industry is dynamically and aggressively attracting new cruisers and, in doing so, is creating a pool of satisfied cruisers who will vacation at sea again and again," says James G. Godsman, president of CLIA.
In fact, according to the research, cruises continue to generate the highest level of "extremely" satisfied vacationers of any vacation type. Thirty-four percent of those who cruise reported they were "extremely" satisfied with the experience. In comparison, "extremely satisfied" was cited by 30 percent of those who rent a vacation house, 29 percent of those who visit friends and relatives, 25 percent of those who took a package tour, and 24 percent of those who took a resort vacation.
Cruisers cite "pampering" as the most significant characteristic of cruises, compared with other vacations. Seventy-five percent said cruises were better than other types of vacations for pampering. Other attributes of cruising singled out as better than other vacation types were:
In fact, the majority of respondents thought cruises were better in many other ways, including entertainment, activities, luxury, destination "sampling" (the opportunity to visit a place to which one might want to return), excitement and adventure, romance, reliability, fun, safety and comfortable accommodations.
Prospects, too, perceive cruises as being a better vacation alternative, even though they have not yet experienced a cruise. Prospects ranked cruises higher on pampering, dining, the chance to visit several destinations, relaxation, romance, and entertainment, among other attributes.
According to the CLIA study, cruiser prospects are 43 years old on average and have a household income of just over $60,000. More than half of cruise prospects have children under 18 years of age in their households, the study shows. The number of current cruisers bringing their youngsters along is significant. Nearly 10 percent cruised with children under 18, and 21 percent cruised with adult children or other family members, according to the study.
Among current cruisers, 70 percent are under age 60. And the average age of a cruiser is 50 years. While most are married, more than one in five is single. And about half have household incomes of less than $60,000.
In all, CLIA estimates that 12 percent of the U.S. population has ever taken a cruise, a marked increase from the 3.6 percent who had ever cruised 1986, the first year the Market Profile Study was commissioned. The CLIA Market Profile Study is conducted every two years by an independent research organization. A sample of 2,000 adults age 25 years and older and with household incomes of $20,000 and above were interviewed by telephone. About 140.5 million people (52% of the total U.S. population) are included in the sample definition.
Cruise Lines International Association is a North American-based marketing and training organization representing 25 of the leading cruise lines and 21,000 affiliated travel agencies.
Experts Say Growing Cruise Fleet and
Passenger Interest Will
Fuel Continued Diversification of Cruising's Hot Spots
Twenty years ago, Alaska was an offbeat destination favored by naturalists and adventurers. Europe was a place Americans toured by motorcoach. Now they're two of the three most popular cruise destinations, and they haven't come close to tapping out their potential.
What's happened to an industry once known mostly for its Caribbean voyages? You might say the cruise industry has evolved to meet passengers' growing needs and desires. As cruise lines began catering to an increasing number of repeat passengers, they discovered the best way to keep these passengers excited about cruising was to develop new itineraries in destinations all over the world.
The Caribbean still holds the number one slot as a cruise destination -- and likely always will, especially among North American travelers -- but in the last 20 years, cruise passengers have found themselves choosing from an array of increasingly exotic destinations. Itineraries visit popular destinations in Alaska, Europe, the Panama Canal, Mexico and Canada/New England, as well as more exotic destinations, among them Antarctica, Zanzibar, Morocco, the Norwegian Coast, Croatia, Costa Rica, Brazil and Madagascar. That trend will continue well into the 2000s, experts say.
Two factors fueling this destination diversity are the volume of new ships planned or in the works (50 by 2003); and the knowledge that more than half of the North Americans who cruise for the first time will become avid repeat cruisers.
Getting ready for the growth are the members of Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA). Most CLIA-member cruise lines have announced new itineraries for 2000-2001, with ports of call in such far-off locations as the Amazon River Basin, the Chilean Fjords and Tahiti, and they already are busy planning itineraries for 2002 and beyond. Many are also developing unusual twists for the ever-popular destinations of the Caribbean and Bahamas.
"As the new millennium swings into gear," says James G. Godsman, president of CLIA, "cruise vacationers will have before them an unprecedented array of vessel and destination choices. It will be a truly exciting time in the history of the industry."
Ask analysts to describe the cruise destinations of the future and, not surprisingly, you get a wide range of answers. Most destinations are likely to experience growth spurts in the next several years, some not until 2010 or later, and some, only if certain world events occur.
Rick Strunck, a consultant for the cruise industry and an experienced destination developer, says one thing Americans will notice in coming years is greater diversity. During the next 10 years, he expects to see continued growth in Europe, the Mediterranean, the Canadian Maritimes, Central America and Mexico, Hawaii, the Middle East, the South Pacific, Australia/New Zealand and the Greek Isles. South America, already a popular cruise destination for Europeans and South Americans, will attract more North Americans in the years to come.
During the next decade, 2010 and beyond, the industry might see growth in other areas, such as Southeast Asia (as the infrastructure catches up) and the Orient, and in 2020, perhaps the West Coast of Africa, assuming a stable political situation and an expanded infrastructure. In addition, world events could play a pivotal role in developing cruise destinations. For example, if the U.S. normalizes relations with Cuba, the cruise lines could develop a whole new Central Caribbean itinerary, with stops in Havana, Jamaica, the Dominican Republic and Haiti.
Another world event likely to give cruise tourism a boost sooner rather than later is the 2000 Olympics in Australia. When Americans start seeing what analyst Strunck describes as 15-second "visionettes" of Australia's scenic wonders, the wanderlust and the appetite for "Down Under" will suddenly be stimulated.
And, says Strunck, let's not forget the cruise ships, which are more and more becoming destinations in themselves. "Cruise lines are eliminating port calls that can't accommodate their larger ships, and offering their passengers an extra day or two at sea, just to enjoy the ship. That's a trend I see continuing," he says.
CLIA Predicts A New Breed of Cruisers for the New Millennium
The cruise passengers of the new millennium will continue to represent a wide variety of lifestyles, income and age levels, according to industry experts. Cruise passengers of 2000 and beyond will fall into one of several categories: well-established cruisers seeking special interest and unique experiences; first-time cruisers looking for the traditional value and pampering that cruises offer; Baby Boomers ready to enjoy more of the good life; and the children of Baby Boomers, who experienced summer camp at sea and now are ready to sail on their own.
The cruise industry will be ready for them all, promises James G. Godsman, president of Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA). "As the new millennium dawns, CLIA's member lines will continue offering an expansive array of itineraries, activities, vessels and destinations, so that both first-time and repeat cruisers will find exactly what they're looking for," Godsman said.
To successfully satisfy and exceed the expectations of cruise vacationers, CLIA regularly conducts extensive research to define the interests and lifestyles of both current and future cruise passengers. For example, CLIA knows that current cruisers represent all age ranges; are pretty evenly divided between men and women; are predominantly married, although one in four is single; are less likely than the average vacationer to have children under 18 at home; and are spread among all income ranges, with a median household income of $58,800.
It's what CLIA has learned about those who haven't yet cruised that offers a pleasant surprise: even yet-to-be cruisers have a positive impression of vacations at sea, rating cruises strongly for pampering, visits to several destinations, relaxation and romance, fine dining and luxuriousness. CLIA has defined these future cruisers and discovered that they fit into certain "categories," including the following:
In addition to the Family Folks, Want-It-Alls, Adventurers, Comfortable Spenders, and Cautious Travelers, cruise lines can expect to see a couple new breeds of travelers, according to the industry analysts and watchers.
One group could be called Baby Boomers' Babies. Because a larger number of Baby Boomers are cruising with their kids, that means a whole generation is being raised on cruising. These will be independent cruisers in the years to come.
Another group could be called Sophisticated Shoppers. Given the high repeat factor in the cruise industry, frequent cruisers will become more discerning and sophisticated. This will drive the production of more ultra-niche vessels, designed around such themes as art or sports.
With only 11 per cent of Americans having cruised, and with 56 per cent of all American adults dreaming of a cruise vacation, industry analysts and watchers agree that the North American passenger market will continue growing at a solid eight per cent a year in 2000 and beyond.
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Last Update: 01/15/01